“Why didn’t you marry her in England?”
“I told you in my letter,” said Liosha. “See here—we don’t want any of your interference.” And she planted herself by the side of her abductor, glaring defiance at Jaffery.
Jaffery smiled. “You told her that because she was a widow and an Albanian she would find considerable obstacles in her way and would forfeit half her money to the Government. You lying little skunk!”
The vibration in Jaffery’s voice arrested Liosha. She looked swiftly at Fendihook.
“Wasn’t it true what you told me?”
“Of course not,” I interposed. “You were as free to marry in England as Mrs. Considine.”
She paid no attention to me.
“Wasn’t it true?” she repeated.
Fendihook laughed in vulgar bluster. “You didn’t take all that rot seriously, you silly cuckoo?”
Liosha drew a step away from him and regarded him wonderingly. For the first time doubt as to his straight-dealing rose in her candid mind.
“She did,” said Jaffery. “She also took seriously your promise to marry her in France.”
“Well, ain’t I going to marry her?”
“No,” said Jaffery. “You can’t.”
“Who says I can’t?”
“I do. You’ve got a wife already and three children.”
“I’ve divorced her.”
“You haven’t. You’ve deserted her, which isn’t the same thing. I’ve found out all about you. You shouldn’t be such a famous character.”
Liosha stood speechless, for a moment, quivering all over, her eyes burning.
“He’s married already—” she gasped.
“Certainly. He decoyed you here just to seduce you.”
Liosha made a sudden spring, like a tigress, and had
it not been for
Jaffery’s intervening boom of an arm, her hands would have been round
“Steady on,” growled Jaffery, controlling
her with his iron strength.
Fendihook, who had started back with an oath, grew as white as a sheet.
I tapped him on the arm.
“You had better hook it,” said I. “And keep out of her way if you don’t want a knife stuck into you. Yes,” I added, meeting a scared look, “you’ve been playing with the wrong kind of woman. You had better stick to the sort you’re accustomed to.”
“Thank you for those kind words,” said he. “I will.”
“It would be wise also to keep out of the way of Jaffery Chayne. With my own eyes I’ve seen him pick up a man he didn’t like and”—I made an expressive gesture—“throw him clean away.”
“Right O!” said he.
He nodded, winked impudently and walked away. A thought struck me. I overtook him.
“Where are you staying in Havre?”
He looked at me suspiciously. “What do you want to know for?”
“To save you from being murdered, as you would most certainly be if we chanced upon the same hotel.”